Unnatural Death: Confessions of a Medical Examiner Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Michael Baden
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What is algor mortis?

2. What did William Hare and William Burke do to obtain bodies to sell?

3. What does Baden prove is the material around Dr. Martin Luther King's wound?

4. What military rule hindered the MIA team until 1985?

5. What case does Baden believe was a triumph for forensic medicine in 1910?

Short Essay Questions

1. Explain why identification of the victims of Flight 66 was hindered.

2. What was Humes' excuse about the faulty autopsy, and is this excuse valid?

3. Explain why Baden believes coroners are often in trouble as a result of their positions.

4. Describe the event in Oklahoma that caused the state to create an office of medical examiner.

5. Explain the circumstances surrounding the guilty verdict of Harvey Crippen.

6. What does Baden note in Chapter One is the price of fame when a celebrity dies, and why?

7. Explain why Baden chose forensic medicine as his profession.

8. Describe the symptoms of strangulation, as seen during autopsy.

9. Summarize Baden's beliefs about what the DA expects an ME to do during autopsy, when issuing a cause of death or other findings.

10. Explain why Baden believes people go into particular medical professions.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Baden closes the novel by noting that the system is failing, and has been failing for some time. Why does he say this? What does he attribute as the cause of this failure? What are some things he thinks can help fix the situation? Do you agree these things are important? Why or why not? After reading the novel, do you think forensic medicine, and the role of the ME, are important? Why? What power do they have? What are their responsibilities, and why are these important?

Essay Topic 2

Explain the forensics used in the case of the prison riot at Attica to prove the guards accidentally shot the hostages. What techniques did Baden use to look at the bodies? What did he find? Why did people dislike his findings? How could he prove the findings? What mistakes did others, such as the funeral director, make that hindered the investigation? Did this serve to increase the tension? Why? Do you think the end result at Attica was beneficial? Why? What group did the riots help create? What does that group do? How did that help the prisoners in the long run?

Essay Topic 3

The novel discusses three clear methods to detect time of death, those of rigor mortis, livor mortis, and algor mortis.

Part 1) List each method, and discuss, in detail, how that method helps determine the time of death.

Part 2) Compare and contrast the three methods. How are they the same? How are they different?

Part 3) Which is the best method of detection? Why? What are the limitations of this method?

(see the answer keys)

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